ONE of the most depressing things about watching the FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Stoke City last Saturday was hearing the TV commentator say that the scorer of the only goal, City’s Yaya Toure, was reputed to be earning £220,000 A WEEK!
City’s win, following their midweek clinching of a place in next season’s Champions League, means that they are guaranteed to splash out even more millions on transfers during the summer as they aim to mop up all the world’s top football talent for themselves.
Their ultra-rich Arab owners have seen that investment on their ‘toy’ has brought a return and despite what the rest of us thing about this obscene situation there’s going to be more of the same.
Ultimately this greed will ruin the game but in the meantime the rest of the football world must sit back and endure.
The Cup Final itself was a dour affair as a hard working but totally outclassed Stoke struggled manfully to try and smother City’s attacking flair. The fact that they held on until 16 minutes from time was a credit to them and their never-say-die attitude.
Manchester United clinched the Premier League trophy on Saturday – their 19th – and next season the race will again be between the top four, although Liverpool may make a bid to muscle in. As for the rest of them – forget it. It’s now all so predictable.
As we enter the last week of the season, interest switches to who’s going down.
West Ham have already fallen through the trapdoor, sacked their manager Avram Grant and will be panicking like mad over the financial consequences of their demotion.
Five other teams will fight it out on Sunday to avoid being the other two clubs to be relegated. It will be a tense day with attention focussed as much on the scores in the other games as to what is happening on the pitch.
For the big four/five clubs, relegation will never, ever be a concern. As a genuine competition, the Premier League is dying a slow death. Eventually supporters will get bored and stay away but I don’t think that will bother Yaya Toure.
If the situation wasn’t bad enough, last week brought the news that Fifa and Uefa have appealed against a European ruling that the World Cup and Euro Championships must be on free-to-air TV in the UK.
This follows a ruling by the European General Court earlier in the year that the UK could keep the competitions on a list of ‘protected’ events of national sporting interest shown for free which means they can’t be sold exclusively to pay-TV outfits.
Fifa and Uefa are now whinging that they can’t sell the events fairly, and the cases will go to the European Court of Justice.
It would be an absolute disgrace if viewing the World Cup was restricted to those with the financial ability to have pay-TV.
Let’s hope that august body tells them to get stuffed!